"The irresistible rise of an arguably unstoppable creature"
September 9, 2013 2:54 PM Subscribe
If I offered evidence that jellyfish are displacing penguins in Antarctica—not someday, but now, today—what would you think? If I suggested that jellyfish could crash the world’s fisheries, outcompete the tuna and swordfish, and starve the whales to extinction, would you believe me?
The New York Review of Books reads
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Lisa-ann Gershwin's book about the rise of the jellyfish and the coming "jellification" of our oceans. (Previously but not as terrifyingly
Jellyfish have taken on the USS Ronald Reagan
, caused coup rumors in the Philippines, and crippled national economies. Their reproduction strategies are astonishing (Hermaphroditism. Cloning. External fertilization. Self fertilization. Courtship and copulation. Fission. Fusion. Cannibalism), they are capable of "de-growing", and some of them are effectively immortal (previously
, and also previously
). But now usually-sober scientists are talking about entire ocean jellification
Nature also briefly reviews
(possibly pay-walled link) Lisa-ann Gershwin's book
: "In this bleak take on the future of our seas, Lisa-ann Gershwin chronicles in sometimes exhausting detail how the gelatinous omnivores that are jellyfish are wreaking havoc in waters around the globe. [...] This is a comprehensive summary of the irresistible rise of an arguably unstoppable creature."
So is this the end? Some experts were not so sure
), and started the Jellyfish Database Initiative
(yes, the JEDI, our last hope). You can report your jellyfish sightings to JellyWatch
, or just stare at the sighting maps. Meanwhile, here's Gershwin again: We are creating a world more like the late Precambrian than the late 1800s—a world where jellyfish ruled the seas and organisms with shells didn’t exist. We are creating a world where we humans may soon be unable to survive, or want to.